Celebrating 50 years of Excellence in Education
During the mid 1950’s there was growing talk about the Catholic Church leaders in Cedar Rapids regarding ministry to the burgeoning Catholic population in the city’s northeast quadrant, as well as the communities of Hiawatha and Robins. St. Matthew and Immaculate Conception schools were expanding rapidly. Cedar Rapids and Marion, spurred by Collins Radio Co., was the fastest growing area in Iowa. At that time, the area was a mere cow path surrounded by farms. Council Street did not exist.
In May 1960, the parish of St. Pius X (by now legally incorporated) launched the campaign for St. Pius X School. Groundbreaking was November 18, 1960. By May 1961 the building had progressed far enough that registration proceeded for the fall school term. The Sisters of Mercy organized the new school, which opened September 5, 1961, with an enrollment of 322 students in grades one through eight. Sister Mary Jude of the Mercy Sisters ordered books and served as principal for three days, until Sister Dorothy Mulheron arrived from the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Sister Dorothy stayed at the Immaculate Conception convent and was driven daily to St. Pius X School by parishioners.
Sister Rita Heires became principal in 1966, and was succeeded by Sister Helen Esther Lueck in 1974. She was followed by Sister Pat Siepker who served as principal until 1994. Susan Lammers then became the first lay principal. She was succeeded in 1996 by Candace Hurley, who served as principal until 2012. The school’s current principal is Brian O’Donnell.
By the 1962 school year, 77 first graders were enrolled, so plans were made to add two classrooms. Lack of money forced the school to place temporary classrooms in the gym. The space crunch forced the school to drop first grade in 1963. The school then expanded adding the junior high wing. It wasn’t until 1979 that first grade was resumed. In 1983, a kindergarten room was added to the school. That boosted St. Pius X’s total enrollment for the 1983-84 school year to 402. There were 22 on the faculty.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish was formed in 1989, and in 2005 the St. Pius X and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Schools (dba St. Pius X School) was officially incorporated.
A decision was made during the 1999-2000 school year that a middle school for grades 6-8 would open in the fall of 2000. Students from All-Saints, St. Matthew’s and St. Pius would be housed in the former Regis High School building. St. Pius then expanded and relocated its library, and opened a before and after school childcare program. Kindergarten was expanded to all day, every day, creating two more kindergarten classrooms with a total of 77 children enrolled. One classroom per grade level was added over the next few years. St. Pius X School enrollment peaked at 474 students during the 2006-2007 year. Enrollment is 415 for the 2010-2011 year.
As we reach our 50th year of providing a quality Catholic Education, we continue with strong faith, new technology, supportive parents, talented children, and committed educators that help students reach their fullest potential.
Adhering to the adage of ‘the only thing constant is change’, St. Pius X School will continue to adapt, and adjust while maintaining its goal of providing financial accessibility for families who seek a Catholic education for their children while maintaining the school’s fiscal stability in order to serve future generations with excellence in education.
1960 – Groundbreaking for St. Pius X School building
1961 – St. Pius X School opens with 322 students in grades one through eight
1963 – First grade dropped due to lack of space
1971 – Dedication of St. Pius X Church
1979 – First grade resumes
1983 – Kindergarten begins to be offered at St. Pius X School
1989 – Dedication of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish
1999 – School changes to K-5 with the opening of Regis Middle School
2006 – School enrollment peaks at 474
2008 – Archdiocesan Tuition Assistance Program begins (STO)
2011 – 50th Anniversary of St, Pius X School
2013- Groundbreaking for St. Pius X Early Learning Center with wrap-around daycare, serving infants through preschool aged students
2014-St. Pius X Early Learning Center opened on August 25, 2014.